PHOENIX (AP) — A $2.3 million federal grant will fund University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix research aimed at developing new treatments for depression.

The college says the research team led by Deveroux Ferguson will focus on a protein-coding gene's role in anxiety and depression behaviors.

According to the college, the new research builds on Ferguson's previous work demonstrating that chronic stress activates the gene known as SIRT1 and that changing the gene's activity with drugs or gene therapy could reduce anxiety and depression.

Ferguson says most drugs used to treat depression were developed 50 years ago and that's an urgent need to design and develop new therapeutics.